- js reader version
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
by Terrie Albano/People's Weekly World
Saturday, Nov. 05, 2005 at 8:46 AM
BATON ROUGE, La. — Sporting union, NAACP and ACORN T-shirts, more than 1,000 rallied here Oct. 29 for jobs, living wages, affordable housing and public services for south Louisiana. Gov. Kathleen Blanco, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and the Rev. Al Sharpton were joined by rank-and-file workers and community activists in calling for a rebuilding program that puts victims of Katrina and Rita first. Speakers also called on the federal government to supply grants, not loans, to local governments for basic services.
The rally’s sponsor, the NOAH coalition (New Opportunities for Action and Hope), founded by community and labor organizations, celebrated the reinstatement of the Davis-Bacon wage protection, forced by mass pressure, but said it was only the first step on a long road ahead.
“The only way we can recover is with living wage jobs that go to Louisiana workers first. We are not just rebuilding Louisiana, we are rebuilding lives,” said Sibal Holt, president of the Louisiana AFL-CIO and rally emcee.
Two months after the worst catastrophe in our nation’s recent history, hundreds of thousands are still displaced and jobless, while aggressive corporate, real estate and construction interests are rushing into the region to profit from the devastation.
In one instance, 75 local union electricians were fired from a wiring job at a nearby airbase, and out-of-state nonunion workers were hired instead by Halliburton subcontractor BE&K of Birmingham, Ala.
Laborers Local 689 Business Manager Barry Kaufman, like hundreds of thousands of other New Orleans residents, lost his house and has no place to stay near his job. “It takes me four hours a day to commute. People need a place to stay. That’s number one. Then schools, to bring the families back. And livable wages, not starvation wages like before the storm,” Kaufman told the World.
“Those were my folks in front of the Convention Center. They made an hour and had no way to get out” when Katrina hit, he said.
Anthony Gomez from the Bricklayers said his union, like many of the others, was helping members with a special emergency relief fund. He, too, sustained losses: “I lost my tools, truck and scaffold.” Gomez had flood insurance but the tangled bureaucracy has held up some payments.
Unions are trying to contact all their members who have been dispersed across the country, many in Texas, Florida and Georgia. “We are reaching out to our members, plugging them into services, talking to them, helping them make decisions,” said Garrick Farria, Louisiana Unite Here district manager. Farria, from Metairie, La., was relocated with his wife Denita Singh Farria and their children to Dallas. While the Farrias work on their situation and reach out to union brothers and sisters, their children are still in Texas with relatives. Separated families are still a major issue for the survivors.
Unions are also angry at New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin for not appointing labor representation to his 17-person rebuilding commission. “How are you going to rebuild without labor?” Kaufman asked.
Rev. Jackson, who started his speech with a storm survivors’ “Bill of Rights” that includes “the right to return home,” received strong applause.
Our country’s “national character is on trial,” Jackson said. He assailed those who would change the racial make-up of the area. “This crisis is not an opportunity to change the character of Louisiana and New Orleans.”
Calling on the Bush administration to aid the region — not with loans, but with grants — Jackson asked, “Where is the money?” which the crowd immediately took up as a chant.
The Rev. Al Sharpton also fired up the crowd, saying, “It is hypocritical to mourn Rosa Parks and at the same time relocate Rosa Parks’ children. Bechtel is trying to move you out. But just like Rosa Parks wouldn’t get up, we won’t get up. Sit in your seat!”
Calling the Bush gang a “greedy animal of prey,” AFL-CIO President John Sweeney accused “corporate scavengers” of plundering New Orleans and putting the cost of rebuilding on the backs of the most needy “by cutting the very federal programs survivors depend on most — Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, student loans, housing assistance — all while continuing his tax cuts for the rich.”
Sweeney called on the federal government to rebuild in the right way and to replace “poverty and racism with opportunity and justice.”
Concerned that corporations will exploit potential divisions in the working class, labor is working hard to build unity between workers of all races and national origins. A Service Employees union local from Houston, mostly immigrant women from Central America and Mexico, joined the rally in solidarity with their Louisiana brothers and sisters.
“Workers understand work goes to Louisiana workers first,” an SEIU organizer told the World. Louisiana AFL-CIO President Holt told the crowd there is nothing wrong with immigrants seeking work in the region, but storm survivors, of all races and nationalities, should get first dibs.
Report this post as:
GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE
lausd whistle blower
Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images
UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light
Change Links April 2018
Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018
Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018!
Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018!
Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A.
Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released
Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups
After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video
Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights
What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It
Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down
Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29
Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf
Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development
Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine
Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents
Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters
City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre
Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling
Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present
Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police
LA Times Homicide Report
More Local News...
Paraphysique de la dictature étatique
Book Review: "The New Bonapartists"
The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia
Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine
The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally!
“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize!
The World Dependent on Central Banks
Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine
March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update
Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel
ICE contract with license plate reader company
Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes
Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges
Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes
Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety
Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man
Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes
Paraphysique de l'autorité
Two Podcasts on fbi corruption
Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS
EPA Head Scott Pruitt: Of Cages And Sirens
The Shortwave Report 04/06/18 Listen Globally!
Nicaraguas Conflic with native Peoples on the Caribbean Coast Near Bluefields in Decade80
Millions Boycott The Sponsors Of Laura Ingraham
THE CONSERVATIVE THREAT
The US, the Dollar, IS and Saudi Arabia
More Breaking News...